Success or Failure: Which Is More Destructive?

There are several major concerns that condition the functioning of our society and impact its further development. These are the thirst for development, self-realization, power, etc. These phenomena are integral aspects of human nature that could determine the functioning of various people and contribute to the formation of a certain system of values according to which all actions should be evaluated.

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The existence of the given system is one of the core aspects of the developed society as it contributes to the creation of the socially accepted behavior and encourages a person to perform various activities. Additionally, being a part of a community, a human being is not able to ignore its attitudes and approaches to a certain issue. For these reasons, one realizes that any member of a community is dependent on public approval or condemnation, and tries to follow the model of a successful individual.

Furthermore, the failure might be very painful and lead to the exclusion and deterioration of a persons image. Yet, a number of philosophers accept the positive impact misfortune might have on an individual and emphasize the negative influence of success. The ambivalence of these issues creates the basis for vigorous discussions.

For centuries thinkers, writers, and common people have been trying to determine the impact these two phenomena might have on the evolution of personality and its position in the community. Nevertheless, the nature of human society and the peculiarities of the value systems formation conditioned the overwhelming importance of success in our life. A successful person becomes appreciated by all members of society, and this fact promotes the appearance of the desire to attain success by all means.

Additionally, numerous examples from the history prove the necessity to become successful to impact the development of a community. However, at the same time, a number of outstanding philosophers warn people and underline the pernicious effect this issue might have on the development of personality. Moreover, they are also sure that failure could serve as the stimulus for the evolution of an individual and trigger his/her personal growth. For these reasons, the question whether success might be more destructive than failure remains topical, and it is investigated by numerous authors and thinkers.

If to speak about success and the impact it might have on a common person, it is vital to outline several major concerns related to the question. First, it is obvious that to attain success a person should work hard and do his/her best to develop his/her personal and professional qualities. Additionally, an individual who wants to become appreciated and powerful should plan his/her actions to contribute to the development as “If you want to have a future, don’t do anything with no future in it” (Wu 15).

That is why the desire to reach a certain goal and assert oneself is one of the major concerns impacting the growth of a person and the level of his/her satisfaction with the life. Moreover, society also accepts the leading role of successful people and consider them models that should be followed to guarantee the continuity of generations and preservation of the existing pattern.

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Yet, some philosophers doubt the unconditional power of people appreciated by society. For instance, Voltaire states that only “Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous author is admirable” (34). It means that success is a very relative concept that depends on the appreciation of other people, though it might have a pernicious effect on the development of personality. Having reached the goal, a person might retire on his/her laurels, being sure in the great significance of his/her achievement.

Besides, the continuous development is one of the main factors that conditions the formation of a successful person. For this reason, having accepted the accomplishment of his/her mission, an individual might stop and trigger the process of degradation, being not able to recognize the necessity of the introduction of new objectives. In these regards, the main paradox of success is that it has the ambivalent nature and could have both positive and negative impacts on a person.

Continuing these cogitations, failure is considered as one of the greatest dramas in the life of every individual. First of all, it is taken as the inability to perform certain actions with the needed result. A person who fails feels despair because of the incongruity of his/her expectations and the final result. Moreover, cruel human society does not accept flunks and uses public condemnation to outline its attitude to a certain action.

The concept of failure is often considered opposite to success and conditions the degradation of personality by highlighting the lack of powers or skills to become successful. Furthermore, a chain of failures will obviously have an overwhelming impact on every person and trigger the reconsideration of his/her priorities not to suffer from bitter feelings related to the issue again. Very often, being not able to achieve the goal an individual might abandon it, preferring to enjoy his/her current state and avoid further flunks.

At the same time, the given phenomenon is one of the integral parts of peoples life as there is hardly a person who has never experienced despair, disillusion, helplessness, etc. These feelings condition the formation of the personality and mentality of a person. This idea is not new, and numerous philosophers tried to underline the role of misfortunes in the life of a person. Having overcome all obstacles, a person might become bitter; however, he could state “That’s because I’ve lived” (Voltaire 98).

It demonstrates the important role failures play in the life of people. Moreover, it is mistaken to acknowledge only their negative influence and not to accept the possible positive impact. If a person is able to analyze the reasons for the failure and consider the weak and strong sides of his/her approaches, he/she will obviously be able to reconsider the methods used to achieve some goals and to initiate the new attempt. In these regards, any misfortune might promote the development of personality and trigger his/her personal growth.

As mentioned above, both failure and success could condition either evolution or degradation of a person by initiating certain processes. For this reason, it is difficult to determine the phenomenon that might have the most devastating effect. Additionally, the question is complicated by the peculiarities of personality and the way a person faces any success or failure.”Nothing in this world is difficult, but thinking makes it seem so. Where there is true will, there is always a way” (Wu 34).

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If a successful person does not interrupt his evolution and tries to promote the personal development, he/she will obviously be able to preserve his/her personality and align the further evolution. At the same time, the positive thinking in case of failure is also crucial as it conditions the deep analysis of the weak points of a certain approach and reconsideration of the methods used to achieve a certain goal. The way of thinking also impacts the behavior of a person under various conditions and in different environments. That is why both success and failure could be used to guarantee the further evolution of a person upon condition he/she is able not to give up and to align the continuous exploration of personal qualities and skills.

Besides, the importance of the given question is evidenced by a number of scientists and philosophers who have sought to determine its major concerns. Voltaire provided the Western approach to the issue, making his Candide one of the greatest works devoted to reflections on the nature of optimism, success, and self-reflection. Yet, Eastern philosophers also cogitated about the given opposition. Wu in his Monkey tried to highlight his own vision of successful person stating that “Hero is he alone who vies with powers supreme!” (78).

Wu wanted to emphasize the necessity to accept any result and initiate the new attempt to achieve some goal. This idea could be considered similar with Voltaires, however, the last one is more concerned about optimism and the unconventional approach to various events in the life of people as he states “But there must be some pleasure in condemning everything–in perceiving faults where others think they see beauties” (Voltaire 79).

Altogether, it is difficult to make a final conclusion related to the impact these phenomena have on a person. I believe that both success and failure are very important, though, success could sometimes be more dangerous for a person because of its nature. In general, I agree with Voltaire that positive thinking and optimism could help a person to overcome all obstacles.

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"Success or Failure: Which Is More Destructive?" StudyCorgi, 19 Oct. 2020,

1. StudyCorgi. "Success or Failure: Which Is More Destructive?" October 19, 2020.


StudyCorgi. "Success or Failure: Which Is More Destructive?" October 19, 2020.


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StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Success or Failure: Which Is More Destructive'. 19 October.

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